Wendy Johnson's father struggled as his entire routine was wiped out by lockdown. Visits from support worker Ozzie have helped so much.

My Dad was really struggling with lockdown. He still is actually.

He’s a really intelligent man with a wry sense of humour. Since his dementia diagnosis in 2015, when we were very quickly referred to Alzheimer’s Support, Dad has enthusiastically attended every activity they have provided.

I think that without AS he would not still be here. His entire week is structured around the support AS provides. On Monday it was Music for the Mind. It was Movement for the Mind on Tuesday. Wednesday he went to a village group. Thursday is the full day at Sidmouth Street Club and he had Joss (Home Support worker) on Fridays.

This was his life, his entire routine. And with lockdown it was wiped out in one fell swoop. It was catastrophic for him. He has been sitting in a chair since March, doing nothing, not going out.

Alzheimer’s Support staff kept phoning and providing Zoom sessions but it wasn’t working for Dad (it was for me though!).

Then came the call - would we like Ozzie to visit. We had already met him a few times so my immediate answer was a resounding YES!

Turning things around

In just a few weeks Ozzie has turned things around. Dad is doing Zoom Music for the Mind with him. He loves to sing and music generally but the good fortune of being with Ozzie who has a similar infectious sense of fun to Dad and also that all important military background is completely priceless.

Dad is now itching to get back to Sidmouth Street club.

Through all this the club has been something for him to hang on to. We talk about it so much and we have all his photographs in an album and look through them.

He has always held on to that, that it will reopen and he can go back. It keeps him going.

Terry: “I’d like to go back today. I wish it was this afternoon. I miss the comradeship”

Wendy: “You know they’ll be some changes. Carol will have to disinfect your walking sticks when you arrive and when you leave.”

Terry: “I would go there without the sticks. I would go on my hands and knees.”

Wendy again:

After 5 years AS staff are like family. They care about us and we care about them.

20th August is printed on our hearts.

I will never ever stop being grateful to the wonderful souls involved in Alzheimer’s Support.

Their resourcefulness and innovative ideas for ways to get through this nightmare are nothing short of amazing.

Wendy Johnson